This article is about a class of rotorcraft. For the company bearing the name, see Gyrodyne Company of America. For the aircraft, see Fairey FB-1 Gyrodyne. For the gyroscopic device used to provide attitude control on space stations, see Control moment gyroscope.
A gyrodyne is a type of VTOL aircraft with a helicopter rotor-like system that is driven by its engine for takeoff and landing and also includes one or more conventional propellers to provide forward thrust during cruising flight. Lift during forward flight is provided by a combination of the rotor, like an autogyro, as well as conventional wings. Due to a number of issues, there is some confusion over the term "gyrodyne", and the terms compound helicopter and compound gyroplane are frequently used to describe the same design. The gyrodyne is one of a number of similar concepts which attempt to provide helicopter-like low-speed performance and conventional fixed-wing high-speeds, including tiltrotors and tiltwings.
In response to a Royal Navy request for a helicopter, Dr. James Allan Jamieson Bennett designed the gyrodyne whilst serving as the chief engineer of the Cierva Autogiro Company. The gyrodyne was envisioned as an intermediate type of rotorcraft, its rotor operating parallel to the flightpath to minimize axial flow with one or more propellers providing propulsion. Bennett's patent covered a variety of designs, which has led to some of the terminology confusion – other issues including the trademarked Gyrodyne Company of America and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) classification of rotorcraft.
In recent years, a related concept has been promoted under the name heliplane. Originally used to market gyroplanes built by two different companies, the term has been adopted to describe a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to develop advances in rotorcraft technology with the goal of overcoming the current limitations of helicopters in both speed and payload